NEW YORK, May 30 (UPI) -- In 2012, it cost an estimated $1.7 million, or 11 percent of total public spending on reproductive health, to treat some 18,000 women in Rwanda who had complications after an unsafe abortion.
The study, The Health System Cost of Post-Abortion Care in Rwanda, was conducted by the Guttmacher Institute in New York with the University of Rwanda's School of Public Health and the Rwandan Ministry of Health. The researchers used data from 2012 from 39 public and private healthcare facilities selected to be nationally representative.
More than $705,000 of the cost of post abortion care was incurred at health centers followed by $519,000 in district hospitals and $235,000 in referral hospitals. These costs included drugs, supplies, tests, medical personnel and hospitalization fees, as well as indirect costs for overhead and capital expenses.
"Unsafe abortion poses a serious threat to Rwandan women's health and lives. It also places a significant and unnecessary burden on Rwanda's healthcare system," Michael Vlassoff, the study's lead author from the Guttmacher Institute, said in a statement.
"The vast majority of these abortions could be avoided by preventing unintended pregnancy, which is the root cause of most abortions. Family planning services must be expanded to ensure all Rwandan women are able to plan their pregnancies."
The researchers found the average cost of treating a woman for complications such as an incomplete abortion, infection or shock was approximately $93 -- an amount considerably higher than the cost of providing a woman with modern contraceptive methods for one year, the study said.